Risk
6/28/2007
03:31 PM
50%
50%

Opening Up A Can Of Spam, I Mean Worms

When I wrote my story yesterday about a self-proclaimed anti-spam activist's feud with a company he accused of being a "spammer", I knew I was touching on a sensitive issue, but I didn't realize just how sensitive until today. Both sides took exception to the wording of passages in my story, particularly those that used the "s" word, and I'm sure that neither side will be looking to shake hands and laugh abou

When I wrote my story yesterday about a self-proclaimed anti-spam activist's feud with a company he accused of being a "spammer", I knew I was touching on a sensitive issue, but I didn't realize just how sensitive until today. Both sides took exception to the wording of passages in my story, particularly those that used the "s" word, and I'm sure that neither side will be looking to shake hands and laugh about this anytime soon.You don't need me to tell you that spam is a very big problem for IT departments and their users. Spam hogs bandwidth, transmits malware, and eats away at productivity. But it's arguably just as big a problem for a company to be accused of sending spam. As Oklahoma ISP Mark Mumma found, calling a company a "spammer" is a serious accusation with serious consequences. Mumma initially threatened to identify Omega Word Travel, a provider of online booking tools and flight tracking information, as a "spammer" on his various anti-spam Web sites, but instead, the courts say he defamed Omega, and he's now been ordered to pay that company $330,000 in damages.

There's a lot of he said/he said going back and forth between Mumma and Omega's legal team. Omega pointed out to me that they've spent a lot of money to successfully defend themselves against being labeled a "spammer" (something the courts agree that they're not). Mumma, meanwhile, isn't convinced, calling the header in Omega's marketing e-mails deceptive and claiming he never signed up to receive their e-mails.

The issues of unsolicited e-mails (or "spam"), e-mail lists, e-mail headers, compensation, defamation, and reputation all play a role in this case. Both sides agree that Omega is a legitimate business. Their primary disagreement is on the difference between marketing and spamming. The court has decided in this case -- in favor of Omega. But the line between the two can be vague.

I'm most curious at this point to know how much of a problem you perceive spam to be. How do you define spam, and is the problem growing? Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

CVE-2014-2716
Published: 2014-12-19
Ekahau B4 staff badge tag 5.7 with firmware 1.4.52, Real-Time Location System (RTLS) Controller 6.0.5-FINAL, and Activator 3 reuses the RC4 cipher stream, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain plaintext messages via an XOR operation on two ciphertexts.

CVE-2014-5212
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in nds/search/data in iMonitor in Novell eDirectory before 8.8 SP8 Patch 4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the rdn parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.